Christmas 2018

Lots has happened since I last wrote…!  I will have to dig deep into the memory banks (and the phone picture gallery!) to recall all the happenings.  Apologies in advance if I miss anything — the past 8 or 9 weeks have been a whirlwind!

… Shortly after we saw Nanna and Taidi at the Botanical Gardens in Carmarthen, Hefin, Emma and Elis visited us in Cardiff.  Hefin was here for a university reunion so we didn’t see much of him to be honest!  Still it was great to catch up albeit briefly.   After a nice meal with Paul, Anurag, Hef and Em on Friday, we took the boys to Techniquest on Saturday.

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The following weekend we headed over to William, Claire and boys in Wokingham.  Morgy loves catching up with his cousins and in this household, it’s almost as if he fits in perfectly as the youngest brother, about 2.5 years younger than William and Claire’s youngest (Dylan).  Here’s Alex, Dylan and Morgy at Dylan and Owen’s Sunday morning rugby practice.

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Afterwards we had lunch and a play at a nearby park.  This swing really got going not long after this shot… 

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Shortly after returning from Wokingham we had dinner with Auntie Angela from Bangor who was down in Cardiff for work.  Here we are at Antoni’s, the new best pizza place on Wellfield Road in Penylan.

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As ever, it’s great to catch up with the Evans clan — just wish everyone were closer so we could catch up more frequently.

And then it was time for the famous British Christmas build up!  Starting with the school Christmas play.  This isn’t a great picture but it was the only one I had to help set the scene…

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Morgy was playing the part of a snowflake, however  I didn’t appreciate that the motif was slightly gangster until I saw the play in full.

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What can I say?  Compared with last year’s nursery performance, this one was a marked improvement in that Morgan actually sang the songs required and even did some basic choreography.  That said, I think we have a scientist on our hands — not a future Broadway star 😉  I was really impressed though when I heard him practicing one song at home completely in Welsh.  My last comment will just be to thank the teachers for their amazing patience and determination to pull off a 20 minute play with about 60 5 year olds.  God bless them.

In other Christmas preparations — we joined my friend Becky for wreath-making again this year at the Roath Park Pleasure Gardens bowls pavilion.

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It’s so fun to come home with a handmade wreath!

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I also went on a mission to resurrect an old family recipe — my Mom’s famous apricot-filled cookies.  I have to include a photo of the recipe itself, hand-written by my Mom’s Mom years ago, and then amended by my Mom on the bottom half.  This is a classic Rutkowski recipe.  Read carefully…

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See picture below for actual result.  Luckily my Mom was only a Skype call away to clarify a few details to produce these delicious cookies!

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Now by the second week of December I had largely given up on the job hunt, figuring I might as well enjoy the run up to Christmas and just start applying for jobs again in the new year.  Naturally this is the best way to test Murphy’s Law… and so it happens I was called for a business analyst contract in Gloucester just 8 working days before the Christmas break.  A short telephone interview a few days later and I was offered a 4 month contract starting on 4 January 2019!  What luck!

And so instead of relaxing when my in-laws turned up on the 18th, I was signing contracts, finding a new umbrella company, withdrawing job applications from other organisations, etc.

In and amongst the admin flurry, we took Ann and Steve to the Potted Pig for a fancy lunch as their Christmas present which was enjoyed by all (sorry Ann I only had a picture of Aled and Steve):

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We also had a walk down at Southerndown:

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And then it was time for Santa!  This was our first Christmas in our house here in Cardiff and we were all really excited.  In the UK, they typically leave Santa a mince pie and a beer or a whiskey.  (Frankly I think this is an insane concept — Santa will be driving his sled drunk — how dangerous!)

As we are a very international family we left Santa a small glass of Pendryn (a Welsh whiskey) and a collection of German gingerbread cookies (known as Pfeffernusse or Lebkuchen) which we had picked up at Wally’s in the arcades in Cardiff (best shop in Cardiff – a must if you visit!).

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And then it was Christmas day and Morgan was delighted with his presents!  What a lucky boy with a new bike and various other bits and bobs!

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We celebrated the day with fellow foodies and beloved neighbours, Paul and Anurag.

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Weeks before, we had agreed the menu would be a delicious, but non-traditional Christmas feast.  Thus we started with our Bucks Fizz and an amazing seafood platter, complete with two lobsters:

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The champagne went straight to our heads so by the time we moved onto the lamb leg roast we were all quite merry…

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After dinner we headed out for a walk/scooter in the park nearby:

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It’s hard to get a good pic of Morg on the scooter because he’s going so fast these days:

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Then there were two Aled-created volcano cakes for dessert (one for Morgan and one for adults with whiskey in the chocolate sponge..!).  And then it was time to watch a movie…

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What a wonderful Christmas everyone!  I hope you had a great holiday season wherever you were.  We are so blessed — and I am so grateful XOXOXOX

 

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